This may not actually be a customer service issue, but what happened with JetBlue does fall under customer perception and it will be interesting to watch how they handle this incident. And, it ties to training – the way JetBlue trains their people in crises situations and also a concept I’ve written about in the past, customer training. This is where customers are trained by the company to best use their products and services.

Tuesday, a JetBlue flight going to Las Vegas met with potential disaster. However, because of some excellent training and common sense, by both the crew and the passengers, disaster was avoided.

In short, the captain, Clayton Osbon of the plane had a meltdown. In the cockpit he was demonstrating erratic behavior. The co-pilot convinced Osbon to go to the restroom. Once Osbon left the cockpit, the co-pilot locked the door and changed the combination. Back in the passenger cabin the behavior became worse. Osbon started screaming about a bomb, Iraq, Iran, Israel and more. Passengers took matters into their own hands. The tackled him to the ground and restrained him until the plane could land and authorities could take Osbon off of the plane.

Regarding employee training in the face of emergencies, Dave Barger, CEO and President of JetBue, praised the co-pilot and the crew for how they handled the situation. He specifically mentioned how the training in crises situations paid off. He also praised the passengers.

Then there is customer training. Typically this is where a company trains their customers on how to use their products. For example, most passengers will use an airline’s website to book their tickets. The airlines gave incentives to book online, eventually getting passengers to try booking their tickets through their website. In a sense, they trained the customer on how to buy.

But, JetBlue didn’t train the passengers. The events of 911 and the media did. The terrorist attacks of 911 are forever etched into our memories. Numerous television interviews covered how passengers might react to terrorist situations. These trained the passengers on what to do in a similar situation. Knowing what could happen on the JetBlue flight, passengers risked their lives to tackle Osbon to the floor and did what was necessary to eliminate the threat.